Category Archives: News

Le swimsuit

I still need to get the car adjusted, but I also need swimsuits. I think of my swimsuits as new, but they are falling apart. Again. It seems that this is all so recent, I bought new ones in 2009 and again in 2013. There are so many things one must keep track of nowadays. The dust on the closet floors and under the beds, and the strange chemicals I have learned to use against the damp.

I feel peaceful. It is not a normal feeling anymore. It has to do with not trying to rush at work, or work beyond fatigue, or work with people who will not. I can do this because I have decided I am a professor.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under News

We have translations

Coming out:
Oh fury the dawn emerges from your lips
The scandalous life of César Moro
Various lions lick the rugose surface of the equestrian turtle at twilight

Under editorial consideration:
About seven more.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

“Socialist realism is condescending and Republican”

That is what I wrote on my ticket to the national art museum in Latvia, while looking at socialist realist painting.

I learned about Nationalist Modernism that day, and the National Constructivism of Romans Suta. I saw how the St. Petersburg institution where painters were trained, had constrained them. The museum also had a wonderful set of posters for its own exhibits, going back almost a hundred years.

Axé.

3 Comments

Filed under News

Tarot reading, and the fifties

I asked, should I move out of the country? Where is home? The layout was the Celtic Cross and I am looking at the Wild Unknown Tarot and the Biddy Tarot. I will meditate upon this.

  1. Heart of the matter/present: Six of Swords. Crossing water, leaving something regretfully but getting somewhere calmer, brighter.
  2. Challenge/obstacle: Ten of Cups. Family happiness, love, plenitude, joy. (Do I really want to leave? Have I newly fallen in love with where I am?) See also card 4. Perhaps: how to find the way from the Ace to the Ten of Cups?
  3. Root cause/deeper past: King of Wands. I of course identify with this figure.
  4. Recent past/immediate future (what is developing): Ace of Cups. True love, in a traditional reading. Beginning of love, compassion, intuition, creativity, expression (Biddy Tarot). See also card 2. There was a beginning but its realization or fruition is the obstacle or challenge.
  5. Goals/aspirations/possible outcome (“above”): Ten of pentacles. Affluence, accomplishment, completion.
  6. Unconscious motivations/possible immediate future (“below”): Five of Swords (anger, conflict, tension, hurt, defeat).
  7. Self/advice: Seven of Wands. I must assert myself and dare to stand out, but not crash and burn (viz. card 6).
  8. Context/outside world: Temperance (major arcana XIV). Equilibrium, meditation, transformation. I can work to moderate energies around me, and it appears that conditions are auspicious for this.
  9.  Hopes and fears: Four of Pentacles. Money, security, material things, control/the known/what one has; what one tried for or committed to. Perhaps also money and rigidity over trust and love (the advice most Americans give other Americans), but I tend to read this more simply as duty to the original goal, original plan, original role, original assignment. Also: hoping to have enough money/love (I see the symbol money as a stand-in for abundance/ease/love, not as their opposite).
  10. Outcome: Four of Swords. This is the outcome if I continue on the current course: rest, meditation and recovery, then a return to work on the project / projects.

Meanwhile, Dame Eleanor Hull is living the life of a 1950s male academic, and liking it. In a way, so am I–not materially, but psychically, because of having decided I have rights. It really frees up energy and time. I can only imagine how being treated like a person, and also paid enough to really live on, might augment the feeling. But the Tarot reading will help me consolidate the first step–the rights step.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under News

Aujourd’hui

Today I am buying skin products. Fancy ones, if I can. Things for the eyes, and things with vitamins C and E. I will get T-Mobile cell service, too. I will balance my checkbook and pay all bills.

This is the week to patch the paint on the house. I’ll have the car detailed, and schedule a massage. I’ll read my new Sebald novel and the Perceval. I might buy perfume. If that cat is still here, I will have him neutered. I will buy flea medication.

And all of this will be for love and pleasure, and not for virtue.

Axé.

3 Comments

Filed under News

Last sunset in Lettland

There is so much to do here that is of interest to me, and it is so beautiful. I want to come back, and soon, but one does not know when that would be. After my dear month in Mexico City in 2012 I said I would be back within the year. I have not been back since.

I had two arguments by e-mail, one about whether I should rush to apply for a Fulbright here (I shouldn’t, I should just sail steady and keep an eye on Baltic Fulbright offerings) and one about whether I should have a product placement blog on travel in hopes of getting vouchers for tours and cruises. I reacted to this with horror and then, more composed as I sat on a city bus in my new dress, feeling poised, realized what the fight-or-flight reaction had been:

1/ Traveling in the way that I do is the space in which I allow myself, and am allowed to be fully myself, to have utter integrity. I don’t want to give this up because then there would be nothing left of me at all.

2/ Traveling to me is deeply personal. I want to do the things I want to do. I don’t want to perform travel to please others, or be obliged to feign enjoyment. I’d honestly rather do sex work to support independent travel, than go on “free” cruises and tours and then blog about them. I would go on cruises and tours and write about them, even write positively about them, if I were also PAID to go on the excursion and for the writing, but that would be a completely different situation. And if I monetize my travel experiences in some way, benefit financially from selling my stories, I want to be the one who decides what stories I tell.

3/ It strikes me that there is something really perverse in commodifying yourself and your experience to promote a commodity, and masking this activity as a travel narrative. It also strikes me that the travel companies really win here–they get advertising they hardly pay for, and the person they underpaid considers it a gift.

In any case, some things from today are:

a/ The Great Cemetery of Riga, and other important cemeteries one could see; in the great cemetery I discovered the memorial stone for Kristian Jaak Peterson, founder of modern Estonian literature, compared to Pushkin and Goethe, who lived 21 years and mastered 20 languages;

b/ An earlier conversation in which I learned that the Latvian national epic was composed in the nineteenth century like Martin Fierro, and it involves a pre-Christian hero. He fought for the old gods against the catechists, and could kill bears with his bare hands.

c/ The conversation with the old man waiting for the bus. I will write about him in more detail later. I must remember to discuss the languages he speaks and why; his anti-Communism (and dislike of political news on television); his experiences in Siberia and the Red Army; his love for Estonia and fishing; the parades he had seen with both Hitler and Stalin on the very street where we were waiting for the bus.

d/ The open-air ethnographic museum, my thoughts on peasant life and the Wild West, my appreciation of these insufficiently respected people.

Axé.

1 Comment

Filed under News, Theories

What I bought in Latvia

I should have bought: ceramics, salt scrub and other cosmetics with Latvian herbs, black balsam, mittens, belts, amber, and perhaps other high-quality, traditional and artisanal things.

What I really bought is:
– Books: an interesting guidebook in German, a Latvian grammar, an English translation of a Pushkin story
– Postcards: many, from a bookstore, scenes of Riga, and from the art museums, reproductions of paintings; one magnet that is a reproduction of a plate by Romans Suta
– A design element to wear: it is like a knee-length, buttonless and sleeveless coat with one hook in front, and it is in an odd pink that looks good on me. Latvian design and production, and all the fashionable young women in Riga have something like this, I cannot be left behind. A luxury at 65 euros
– 13 euros each, bought in Portuguese form a Russian: Indian blouse, Italian sundress marked down from 104, and fascinating cross between shirt, dress and jacket: another design element to be worn over other things, except that this one can be buttoned up
– A genuine striped flax towel, of the kind we had long ago
– A jar of spice: sea salt mixed with hemp powder. It gives a very good taste and is to be sprinkled on salad or quark.

I thought it was excessive to buy these clothes, was not sure of any of them, but looking at them now I realize nobody else will have anything like them, they are so sophisticated and unusual.

Axé.

Leave a comment

Filed under News